Page Updated: May 2020
Using the services of travel agents for Africa is always good advice when embarking on an African hunting trip. They should have extensive experience of African tours and routing clients to and within Africa.
However, the very best advice is to use a travel agent who specialises in African hunting safaris. Not only will they have accurate and up-to-date knowledge about the firearm documentation required and airline regulations, they will be able to get firearm permits and transit permits on your behalf where appropriate. They will select appropriate international and domestic routing with airlines that are firearm 'friendly' or at least, if not very friendly, actually do carry firearms.
Essentially with an African hunting specialist agent you should get a customised travel plan which includes:
Some hunters prefer to leave all their travel arrangements to an agent, just giving them the dates and leaving them to it.This is OK if you really know and trust a specific agent and you are experienced at travelling to various different African hunting countries. It is not so good if you are a first-timer or just completely unaware of the possible pitfalls of African travel, with or without the added issues of flying with a firearm.
Flying to or within the continent of Africa is not like flying in the USA or Europe, particularly if you are using an international, regional or domestic African carrier. This is why you need to build in some contingency plans. African airlines may suddenly cancel flights - you may waiting to board when they announce the aircraft has 'technical problems' which may range from a major engine failure to the captain going missing. They also have the habit of not only taking off late, but taking off early...before all the passengers have turned up.
You would be well advised to learn a thing or two about travelling to Africa before contacting a travel agent, especially in case you get an inexperienced one. Also watch out for travel agents that try to sell you inappropriate travel insurance or insist on you using their visa service when you don't need a visa prior to travel.
Also be aware that you will be charged a fee to re-schedule any of your flights, so get the dates and times absolutely correct first. Visit airline websites to look at the flight schedules yourself.
This rare breed of US travel companies are worth their weight in gold for African hunters. The 'stigma' of being associated with hunting of any kind has caused many travel businesses not to advertise their hunter services. High street travel companies and specialist African photographic safari agents will probably be aghast if you mention hunting and travelling with firearms.